Specialized Police-Based Mental Health Crisis Response: The First 10 Years of Colorado’s Crisis Intervention Team Implementation – 2018

This study examined the implementation of crisis intervention teams by law enforcement agencies in Colorado.

Rates of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) use, arrests, use of force, and injuries were assessed during 6,353 incidents involving individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Relationships among original complaint, psychiatric illness, substance abuse, violence risk, and disposition of crisis calls were analyzed.

Rates of SWAT use (<1%), injuries (<1%), arrests (<5%), and use of force (<5%) were low. The relative risk of transfer to treatment (versus no transfer) was significantly higher for incidents involving psychiatric illness, suicide threat or attempt, weapons, substance abuse, and violence potential.

Use of force or SWAT, arrests, and injuries were infrequent. Suicide risk, psychiatric illness and substance abuse, even in the presence of a weapon or violence threat, increased the odds of transfer to treatment, whereas suicide risk lowered the odds of transfer to jail.

Hari-Mandir K. Khalsa, M.S., Attila C. Denes, M.B.A., Diane M. Pasini-Hill, M.A., Jeffrey C. Santelli, M.S., Ross J. Baldessarini, M.D.
Psychiatric Services, November 01, 2017